Panel Paper: Laying a Foundation: Final Impacts from the Youthbuild Evaluation

Friday, November 9, 2018
Jefferson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Cynthia Miller1, Danielle Cummings1, Megan Millenky1, Andrew Wiegand2 and David Long3, (1)MDRC, (2)Social Policy Research Associates, (3)Princeton Associates

Making the successful transition to adulthood has become more and more difficult for many American young people. Unemployment rates among young people are more than double those among older adults, and young people were hit especially hard by the recent recession of 2007- 2009. Finding ways to reengage these young people in education and work is one of our nation’s central social policy challenges.

YouthBuild is one program that attempts to help this group. YouthBuild is a federally and privately funded program operated at over 250 organizations nationwide, serving over 10,000 young people each year. Each organization provides construction-related training and may also provide training in other in-demand industries, along with educational services, counseling, and leadership-development opportunities, to low-income, out-of-school young people ages 16 to 24.

YouthBuild is being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial, in which eligible young people at participating programs were assigned either to a program group, invited to enroll in YouthBuild, or to a control group, referred to other services in the community. The evaluation includes 75 programs across the country funded by the U.S. Department of Labor or the Corporation for National and Community Service and nearly 4,000 young people who enrolled in the study between 2011 and 2013. The paper presents the program’s effects, through four years, on young people’s education, training, employment, civic engagement, youth development, and criminal justice involvement. The findings are based on administrative employment and education data from the National Directory of New Hires and the National Student Clearinghouse and youth responses to 12-, 30-, and 48-month surveys. In addition to impact findings, this paper presents an exploratory analysis designed to identify program-level and contextual factors that are associated with program effects to inform program development.